By Mary Hanbury
August 11, 2016

Tonga’s first Taekwondo athlete and official flag bearer made headlines after greasing himself up for the Olympics Opening Ceremony last Friday. Within an hour, Pita Taufatofua added more than 1,000 Instagram followers. Now, less than a week later, he’s bumped up his Indiegogo crowdfunding total by almost $4,000 to nearly $10,000.

Read More: Why It’s So Hard to Earn a Living as an Olympic Athlete

Taufatofua, who says the funds will go toward training, equipment and travel costs, joins a host of Olympic hopefuls who have set up crowdfunding pages, MarketWatch reports. So far, nearly $800,000 has been raised on GoFundMe and $50,000 on Indiegogo for athletes from across the world who are requesting donations to cover their training costs and the travel expenses of family members.

Taufatofua is in good company. US Swimmer Caeleb Dressel has also turned to crowdfunding to help defray costs. So far his sibilings have raised $12,000 towards their parent’s trip to Rio. Meanwhile, French track and field athlete Justine Fedronic is only $2,000 off her $15,000 goal which she says she’ll use to cover the cost of bringing her coach and physical therapist to Rio.

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